National Geographic Shines Spotlight on First Ladies From Martha Washington to Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush

The U.S. Constitution does not define the role of the first lady nor assign her any official duties. Yet ever since Martha Washington, presidential wives, daughters, nieces and friends have contributed to the efficient functioning of government, acting as hostesses, advocates, ambassadors and confidantes. Now, just in time for President’s Day and Women’s History Month, comes National Geographic’s “Our Country’s First Ladies,” the most comprehensive, up-to-date gift and reference book on the subject.

Did you know that Margaret Taylor prayed for her husband’s election defeat, or that Ellen Wilson lobbied Congress about slum housing? That Hillary Clinton was only the 27th woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, or that Nancy Reagan acted in 11 Hollywood films?

The fascinating stories of 44 unique women are brought to life in this lavishly illustrated volume by the award-winning author of National Geographic’s “Our Country’s Presidents.” Kids ages 10-14 will learn about the background and personality of each first lady and her special causes and concerns, from the political advice proffered by Sarah Polk to Lady Bird Johnson’s campaign to promote the beautification of America’s highways. Fact boxes give detailed personal information, and a full-page formal portrait of each first lady is included, along with archival photographs, prints, historical documents, artifacts and notable quotes. First Lady Laura Bush welcomes readers with a foreword.

Illustrated time lines throughout the book place the first ladies in the context of women’s history, while a handy facts-at-a-glance section is packed with the kind of details that trivia lovers and report writers need. Back matter includes a bibliography, index, Web sites and places to visit.

Ann Bausum is the award-winning author of the 2007 American Library Association Sibert Honor Book “Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement;” “Courage and Cloth,” winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award for Older Readers; “Our Country’s Presidents,” a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People; and “Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs: A Photobiography of Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews,” recipient of a National Parenting Publications Gold Award.

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